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New Jersey Scuba Diving


New Jersey Scuba Diving

Hail Mary II

Axel Carlson Reef

Hail Mary II 'Angelo's Reef'

shipwreck, trawler
( 65 ft ) 79 tons
Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association
Saturday November 4, 2006
40°02.641' -73°59.218'

Shinnecock Inlet
Shinnecock Inlet, showing the commercial docks at the upper left

The Hail Mary II capsized about 30 yards from the Soleaus fishing dock in Shinnecock Bay ( see above ) January 4, 2006. It is though that rough seas in the inlet caused her 30,000 pound catch of squid to shift in the cargo hold, unbalancing her. As the vessel approached the docks at about 5AM, the captain retracted one of the heavy "bird" outriggers or booms, unknowingly increasing the unbalance to the point where the boom on the other side, still extended, caused the vessel to roll over.

All three of the crew were safely rescued, but the Hail Mary was swept out by the tide, by noon coming to rest just inside the tip of the west jetty. At this location, almost completely submerged, she was pounded against the rocks by the stormy sea. By the time a salvage could be mounted four days later, the vessel was too far gone to be repaired, and was subsequently "reefed" in New Jersey, since New York state's own reef program was snarled up in paperwork and permitting issues with the ACOE at the time.

Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary II sunk in Shinnecock Inlet

Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Getting towed back in

\Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Dewatering and salvage

The salvage was handled by Gladsky Marine:

A commercial fishing vessel loaded with 30,000 pounds of squid sank in rough, winter weather as she approached the dock. The currents swept the vessel out of the bay, through the inlet, and into rough coastal waters by the time the Ovus arrived. These currents further complicated the job by making it hard on divers and adding strain to the tow. Two tugs towing in series were required to move The Ovus and the wreck. We hooked up the Hail Mary 2 and towed her into calmer waters, set her on the mud, and then re-rigged and fully raised her. Hundreds of residents watched the operation from the jetty.


Lloyd's Casualty Week:

January 13 2006

London, Jan 4 - A press report, dated today, states: Commercial fishing Hail Mary II (79 gt, built 1993) capsized in Shinnecock Inlet (approximately lat 40 52N, long 72 28W) yesterday morning in high winds and rough seas, dumping more than 30,000 pounds of fish, 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and three crew members into the frigid water, Coast Guard officials said. Shortly before 0500 hrs, the 63-foot Hail Mary II capsized after its owner, John Windels of East Quogue, lost control of the boat while hauling up an outrigger, police said. Windels, was on board with Jerzy Bogucki and Richard Gardiner, according to Southampton Town police.

The boat capsized 30 yards from Soleaus Pier, near the fishing station dock, police said. A neighbouring vessel, Cindi Sea, contacted the Coast Guard minutes after the capsizing and was able to rescue Bogucki. The Coast Guard arrived and transferred him, Windels and Gardiner to shore, Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Robert Skinner said. All three men were taken to Central Suffolk Hospital by Flanders Volunteer Ambulance for hypothermia symptoms, police said. A spokeswoman for Central Suffolk Hospital said the men were later released. The State Department of Environmental Conservation was notified of the diesel spill, Skinner said. The vessel remained 95% submerged in the Shinnecock Inlet last night.

January 20 2006

London, Jan 9 - A Coast Guard New York press release, timed 1130, Jan 7, states: Salvage operations to raise the capsized fishing Hail Mary II from Shinnecock Inlet, Long Island, will commence at 1400 today. The vessel capsized in heavy seas shortly after 1700 Tuesday (Jan 3) while returning to port with 30,000 pounds of fish and 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The fuel remains contained and very little sheening has been reported. It remains 95% submerged about 50 feet from Shinnecock Inlet's western jetty.

The salvage plan calls for Hail Mary II to be towed inshore today, then prepared to be hoisted by a barge-loaded crane tomorrow. It will then be taken to a commercial dock for dewatering. A Unified Command consisting of Coast Guard, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Town of Southampton, Environmental Conservation Police, Sea Spill, and Sea Tow officials, was established Tuesday to monitor the salvage operations and prepare to recover any potential pollution. Gale force winds and heavy surf have prevented salving Hail Mary II until today.

January 27 2006

London, Jan 16 - A press report, dated Jan 13, states: Fishing Hail Mary II was partially raised Jan 8 by a massive crane barge, and towed into the bay and out of the rough inlet seas. The following day, the crane raised the vessel from its watery hold and officials began dewatering it. Officials ended dewatering operations on Jan 10.

And on the Seventh Day the Coast Guard Rested

U.S. Coast Guard | Steve Sapp | January 12, 2006 | www.military.com

Long Island Sound - The prayers of three fishermen were answered with their rescue in Shinnecock Inlet, N.Y. shortly after 5 a.m. Jan. 3 after their ship Hail Mary II capsized in rough seas. Seven days later, the Hail Mary II herself was rescued.

As Capt. John Windels and his crew of Richard Gardiner and Jerzy Boucpoulki were returning to port with a successful haul of 30,000 pounds of squid, the Hail Mary II capsized in rough weather when one outrigger retracted before the other and destabilized the 72-foot steel dragger. The crew of a nearby vessel, the Cindi Sea, rescued Boucpoulki, while a Sea Tow operator rescued Windels and Gardiner from atop the hull of the overturned vessel.

With the crew safely ashore, the focus shifted to salvaging Hail Mary II., 95-percent submerged about 150 feet from the mouth or Shinnecock Inlet and 50 feet from the western jetty. "Following the rescue of the crew the safety of the environment was our next concern, " said LT Bill Grossman, Supervisor of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Coram. "Not knowing the exact amount of fuel and lube oils that remained on board we needed to develop a plan to safety mitigate the threat."

Officials from the Coast Guard, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Town of Southampton, Environmental Conservation Police, Sea Spill, and Sea Tow immediately established a Unified Command at Soleaus Marina in Shinnecock to monitor the salvage operations and prepare to recover any potential pollution. Pollution Response officers from Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound traveled from New Haven, Conn., to join forces with Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Coram, N.Y.

Gale force winds and rough seas delayed any immediate salvage operations. "Everyone in the Unified Command knew that the fuel on board was difficult to recover in the vessels present state, but we still went ahead to develop a plan to protect the environmentally sensitive areas nearby in the event of a complete release of the fuel tanks, " said Grossman.

Unified Command officials were concerned for the 4,000 gallons for diesel fuel that remained contained aboard the Hail Mary II. According to Grossman, they feared the vessel's hull breaking in half and experiencing a complete loss of all fuel from within the tanks. "Since we did not have a complete hull survey from the divers we were not able to determine the exact nature of the hull, ' said Grossman. "We [placed] harbor boom surrounding the vessel during the salvage, as well as pre-staged [oil containment] boom protecting the environmentally sensitive areas."

The Unified Command members were relieved when overflights conducted by Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft reported that only a light, unrecoverable sheen was visible. Overall, there was limited impact to the environment.

A massive crane barge arrived Jan. 8 to partially raise the Hail Mary II and tow her into the bay and out of the rough inlet seas. The following day, the crane raised the fishing vessel from its watery hold and officials began dewatering it. On the seventh day, Jan. 10, officials ended dewatering operations.

Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
Hail Mary reef
The Hail Mary II is sunk for the second time

The Charter Boat Association, with proceeds from its annual Mako Mania shark tournament, has a reef building fund set up specifically for these purposes. An agreement was consummated to finance the project while memorializing the deployment in Capt. Polcari's memory, thus starting the long process of transporting the vessel to its final resting place on the Axel Carlson Reef.

The first phase of the project was getting the boat towed from Shinnecock to Clean Water of N.Y., a salvage/cleaning yard, located in Staten Island. Upon arrival the drive train was removed, tanks and compartments drained, pollutants disposed of, followed by a thorough cleaning. Any item that could float or drift away or was hazardous in any way, shape or form had to be removed. The DEP has very strict policies about debris not left floating or washing up on our beaches.

Next, large torched cutouts were made through the decks and between compartments to allow fish, sea life and divers access while aiding in the sinking process. Getting a vessel to land on the ocean floor in an upright position is always a challenge. Two heavy duty valves were installed below the waterline to facilitate flooding of the hull during deployment. At this point I was able to board the vessel to letter "Angelo's Reef" on the deckhouse. The Coast Guard was then summoned to do its mandatory, final inspection. Towing, clean-up and yard work took several months.

Weather delays then set the project back another few months. But, on the afternoon of Nov. 3, a tugboat bridled the Hail Mary at the salvage yard and set out on her final voyage. The tow carefully navigated out to Newark Bay, through the Kill Van Kull, to New York Bay south, into Raritan Bay and then easterly. Around midnight the tug and tow arrived at a prearranged rendezvous in the vicinity of Sandy Hook Channel. There the Hail Mary's hawser was transferred to a TowBoat/US vessel. Apparently the powerful (and expensive) tug would no longer be necessary in the open ocean. In a light northwest breeze, by 8 a.m. the following morning the Hail Mary was being maneuvered between two buoys N.J. Fish & Wildlife personnel had set on the Axel Carlson Reef.

Hail Mary reef

Carberry was onboard a state research vessel directing the deployment. In addition to the state craft, the Coast Guard and numerous private boats were on hand to view the event. Carberry's men boarded the Hail Mary, opened the through-hull valves then exited for the final time. We all watched as the hull slowly settled inch by inch into the ocean. The scuppers filled and decks became awash. The bow dipped as the forward living quarters were displaced with murky seawater. Then rolling half over on its starboard side, the wreck exposed its aft underside. Just as we thought the bow might go under first, the transom began to gently disappear.

The end was nearing as escaping air, sounding like a huge teapot blowing off steam, sent a fine mist across the ocean's surface. The stern gained sinking momentum as the structure rotated while the bow raised like the hands on a clock, pointing skyward. The hull was now suspended in a vertical position. The water's surface erupted violently surrounding the protruding nose as it slowly sunk downward. Boat horns wailed in gesture of wakeful respect as the vessel disappeared. It took 58 minutes. Only a slight slick and millions of bubbles remained.

Posted by the Asbury Park Press 11/24/06

Reef Honors Beloved Captain

Sunday, November 12, 2006
BY Al Ristori
Star-Ledger Staff

The Axel Carlsen Reef was expanded last Saturday when the 65-foot trawler ' Hail Mary' was scuttled to create a section now known as "Angelo's Reef" in honor of the popular and talented Capt. Angelo Polcari, who ran his Roman Beauty out of Point Pleasant for many years before losing a battle with cancer in the spring of 2004.

Polcari was a founding member of the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association, which provided funding through their annual Mako Mania Tournament. Many members were on hand for the sinking along with Angelo's wife, Arlene, state Department of Environmental Protection officials and the Coast Guard.

As Capt. Pete Grimbilas of the GPPCBA noted: "There is a certain sadness when a vessel is scuttled. Careers, memories, partnerships all being laid to rest. But, in this case, a rejuvenation will take place. The hull of the Hail Mary will become a nourishing, underwater habitat to fish and dive on for many decades to come. That's what reef building is all about."



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